Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) delivered remarks today at the Heritage Foundation on “deep fake” technology, which manipulates audio and video of real people saying or doing things they never said or did.
Earlier this week at the Atlantic Council, Rubio also highlighted the issue of potential use of deep fakes in upcoming elections. At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in May, Rubio raised the threat of deep fakes and how they could be used to cause chaos in our electoral system.
A rough and partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
And if you say that then I would say that 99% of the American population doesn’t know what it is, even though, frankly, for years they’ve been watching deep fakes in science fiction movies and the like, in which these incredible special effects are as realistic as they’ve ever been thanks to the talent of the people. But never before have we sort of seen that capability become so apparent, or so available, right off the shelf.
And then you look at sort of the trends that we’ve seen in the 21st century, the weaponization of information, and let me just say there's always been propaganda in the world and information has always been a powerful tool to use against a competitor or an adversary.
What we’ve never had in human history is the ability to disseminate information so rapidly, so instantaneously, for it to have an impact on so many people before you’re capable of reacting to it.
But the vast majority of people watching that image on television are going to believe it. And if that happens two days before an election, or the night before an election, it could influence the outcome of your race. The capability is now and the culture instinctively wants to believe that stuff exists now. Because the nature of our political public today is driven by conflict.
All of that stuff would get lost in the broader debate and you would have a Commander-in-chief of the most powerful armed forces in human history being sworn in with a significant percentage of the population and, I would dare say, a significant percentage of the Armed Forces who, at a minimum, had doubts about whether the person who won the election had actually won it. That is what disruption would mean if someone could get into our electoral systems and change registration. Add to that the ability to influence the outcome by putting out a video of a candidate on the eve before the election doing or saying something, strategically placed, strategically altered, in such a way to drive some narrative that could flip enough votes in the right place to cost someone an election. You put all that together and what you have is not a threat to our elections, but a threat to our republic, a Constitutional crisis unlike any we have ever faced in the modern history of this country.
And it is a 21st century threat that no one has ever been presented with. So we have a lot of work to do. Today is the beginning of it.